My Ten: Slice of Life #sol21 28/31

“My Ten” is a New York Times column where creative types are asked to share “their top 10 cultural must-haves.” The Learning Network turned it into a lesson of the day, and Ms. Chen turned it into a Slice. Thanks, Ms. Chen, for the inspiration!

  1. Caternet. Ok, I made that word up, and I don’t think it’s going to catch on. But I’m sure it surprises approximately no one that I consume a lot of cat Internet content. I need a daily dose of cat photos, cat videos, cat memes, and cat stories to be able to function, and thankfully, the Internet always provides.

2. What Should I Read Next? podcast: Other podcasts come and go in my Podcast app, but Anne’s soothing voice interviewing guests about their reading lives and recommending three books they should read next continues to be my one weekly must-listen.

3. Joy the Baker: How we love Joy the Baker in our house! I have made dozens of her recipes over the years, and nothing has ever flopped. Even better, most everything I’ve made becomes a repeat favorite. Plus she has a lovely blog and a handsome cat, and she created another Internet delight, Drake on Cake.

4. Psych: Shawn and Gus have to be the most quoted characters in our house. You know that’s right. We’ve watched the show from beginning to end numerous times (I’m ready for a rewatch right now, in fact–never mind that we just finished a rewatch last month). Skip the second movie though.

5. Jason Reynolds: This list could easily have become a list of ten must-have authors but I decided to limit myself to just two. And I knew immediately who my number one author would be. I love all of his books, including the poetry-art collaboration he did with his friend Jason Griffin (My name is Jason. Mine too.). I love the work he’s done as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. I love his generosity in talking to teachers and sharing truths and asking questions we need to hear to be able to grow, learn, and do better for kids. I love how he’s always got a new book to recommend. And I love how he’s always talking about how much he loves his mom.

6. #Penpalooza: Penpalooza is the pandemic pen pal project started by writer Rachel Syme, and the Twitter hashtag is one of the loveliest spots on the Internet for shared joy over the simple pleasures of letters and stamps and pens and pretty envelopes.

7. Vionic shoes: I discovered Vionics when I was suffering from plantar fasciitis, and I will never buy any other brand of sandal. I can stand for hours and walk for miles in these shoes with no aches or pains.

8. Starbucks vanilla bean scones: They’re dry and kind of flavorless, and I have no idea why they’re my favorite–my only–fast food treat, but they are.

9. Zadie Smith’s essays: The essay is my favorite form, and Zadie Smith is my favorite contemporary essayist. I think most readers know her as a novelist, but her essays have so much to offer. There are two fat collections and one very slim one, and they range so widely and thoughtfully over books, writing, family, place, politics, pop culture.

10. Yoga with Adriene: I’ve spent so many calming hours practicing yoga in Adriene’s company. She’s endlessly relatable and also endlessly inspirational, and Benji sightings are the best.

What are you some of your cultural must-haves?

25 responses to “My Ten: Slice of Life #sol21 28/31”

  1. Like so many other words, if caternet is widely used there is no reason why it wouldn’t eventually become a recognizable word that finds its way into dictionaries. I do like this idea of a top 10 list. I would have to give it some thought and see how I could narrow my list down.

  2. Love this list, especially Joy the Baker and Jason Reynolds. I’m definitely going to check out Zadie Smith’s essays now. Thanks for the shoutout! I hope you had as much fun as I did making this list.

    • It was such an incredibly fun prompt, and I can’t wait to try it out with my students too! I fell down the rabbit hole this morning and skimmed way too many of these lists on the NYT website, but they’re just so fun!

  3. I always learn from your lists! Like, I’ve never heard of Vionic shoes and I’ve suffered from plantar fasciitis for ages. I pretty much wear Crocs all day, every day, for that reason (doesn’t matter that they’re ugly if they feel good – not even my brand new fancy Nike Air Max workout shoes compare). So now I want to hunt down Vionics. Yay for new options!!

    • I hate the colors and styling of the Brooks Ariel running shoe but it’s incredible for plantar fasciitis. Vionics are the best sandals for it, I think. I also like my Danskos quite a bit. It means paying a ton for shoes because all of these are very $$$, but avoiding plantar fasciitis pain is actually worth it.

  4. I love Vionic boots and like you can wear them all day without any foot pain. Another of your 10 faves that would be on my list is yoga with A. I’ll have to try some other items on your list!

  5. I’m not going to share any of my 10, only because I’m using this tomorrow! (Thank you.) I don’t know why I don’t think of these awesome ideas when in fact I use them with my students. The “List of 10” that I do with my students is so successful, and we begin with “The 10 Duel Commandments.” Anything that starts with Lin Manuel Miranda is a success without question. (The kids know Moana and usually we digress.) Any list that includes Jason Reynolds is complete in my book (and Jacqueline Woodson, too). Like you, once I start…

    • I was flipping through an old writer’s notebook yesterday and finding all kinds of prompts I used with my students and wrote to briefly myself–and wondering why I don’t turn them into a slice! If I had added a third author to my list, it would have been Jacquline Woodson! I’ll look forward to your list tomorrow!

  6. I love your list and what I continue to learn about it. Maybe this idea will find my way into a post, especially since I am slowing running out of ideas to write about! My good friend introduced me to vionic sandals a few summers ago – you are so right – worth the money for the comfort!

    • I had bookmarked this one earlier in the month for a day like today. I am definitely running out of things to write about! Vionic sandals are $$$ (at least I think so) but worth it! And they last really well too.

  7. Fascinating because there’s so much here that is new to me! Psych might be of interest for me & the boy, those sandals look super comfy and I will have to look into Zadie Smith’s essays. Thanks for sharing!

    • My son is so obsessed with Shawn and Gus; he was just complaining the other day that we haven’t named any cats Shawn and Gus yet. I think you’d really like Zadie Smith’s essays! I like Changing My Mind best.

  8. Such an interesting list – Caternet! Love it! I am a plantar fasciitis sufferer too and have not heard of this brand. No one understands that pain unless you have suffered from it. I think a listy slice might find its way in these last three days!

  9. I am with you on the Caternet – definitely a much needed palate cleanser during digital consumption.
    Vionics have awesome arch support, which reminds me I need to get a new pair of flip flops for the summer …
    Great list!

  10. What a great list! is it shameful to admit I don’t know who Jason Reynolds is? But I’m not American and I don’t think he’s big over here. I don’t know what plantar fasciitis is either, will have to look it up! Anyway thanks for the variety of items and it certainly provided me with new material and the opportunity for a slice in the future. I’m not sure I could handle a caternet, though I love the idea, as I spend too much time looking at, playing with cats anyway!

    • Jason Reynolds has so many wonderful books, it’s hard to pick just one to recommend. I love When I Was the Greatest and Ghost best, but I usually give readers new to his work Long Way Down first. Another favorite!

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